Longview/Kelso granted West Coast League membership

Longview/Kelso, Washington is the newest member of the West Coast League. League president Ken Wilson announced that the five-year old league, based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, had awarded Longview/Kelso an expansion franchise.

The Cowlitz County club becomes the tenth member of the West’ leading wood-bat summer collegiate league, which launched in 2005 with 7 teams.

“The team will offer exciting baseball and affordable family entertainment in a package never seen in this area,” said Wilson. “We’re working with a potential owner and expect to move forward quickly.”

The pro-like West Coast League fills its rosters with top college players from around the country. The new team will begin play in 2010, with its home games at Story Field on the campus of Lower Columbia College.

“The school administration has worked hard to make this happen and we’ve been impressed with the overwhelming community support we’ve received,” added Wilson. A stadium lease is soon to be finalized, according to Wilson. “All parties are pulling in the right direction and we expect final agreement to be reached shortly.”

“A team in Longview is perfect for our league,” pointed out Rick Smith, managing partner of the Kitsap BlueJackets. “We think we’ll be able to create a great rivalry with the club there and it gives us another team closer to Corvallis and Bend.”

Story Field will be the site of a Kitsap home game this summer as the BlueJackets take on the WCL defending champion Corvallis Knights on Sunday, July 19 at 5:05 pm. Tickets for that game go on sale next Monday, June 1.

The league recently awarded a conditional membership to Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Walla Walla, Washington currently heads a list of cities seeking to join the West Coast League. A number of markets in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California are also considered candidates to eventually become members of the growing league. The West Coast League plays a 48-game schedule. The 2009 season begins June 5.